IT ministry approves 14 projects

Published May 7, 2004

ISLAMABAD, May 6: The Ministry of Information Technology has approved 14 projects worth over Rs300 million to automate different public sector organizations and departments including the National Assembly.

The approval to this effect was given at a meeting of the departmental development working party (DDWP), which was presided over by the IT secretary, Khalid Saeed. Other senior officials of the ministry and attached departments also attended the meeting.

Two of the projects would be implemented under the Tameer-e-Pakistan Programme. Among them, one project deals with the extension of underground cable from Shah Yousaf exchange to Kundan Khurd and Kundan Kala Tehsil Shahpur, Sargodha district, while the other project provides for six single-channel VHF systems in Badin and Mirpur Khas districts.

The meeting, also approved the extension of the computer automation at the National Assembly whereby newly-created standing committees of the National Assembly would be able to make use of the computerised system already under implementation.

Under the project, the functions of the National Assembly would be computerised by giving the parliamentarians facility to exchange information electronically and publish information on the web for the consumption of the general public. The debates and the proceedings of the National Assembly would also be recorded in electronic form and stored for search and easy access.

In another project the regional offices of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) would be linked with the head office of the EPB in Karachi, which is already electronically linked with the commercial counsellors in our foreign mission.

By providing this seamless linkage of information, the exporters would get up- to-date information instantly, which in the traditional paper- based system takes days.

The meeting noted that the speedy availability of information would help the exporters avail themselves of more opportunities and increase the exports. The meeting emphasized the importance of training, capacity building, and quality assurance to ensure that the implementation was done professionally and that projects were sustainable after completion.

A project to set up IT labs in 60 federal government, Cantonment garrison schools and colleges was also approved. The ministry has already completed the setting up of labs in 20 FG Cantonment garrison schools and 23 colleges and with this new project the entire FG Cantonment garrison schools and colleges throughout the country would be covered.

Realising that education and development of human resources is the backbone of a successful IT programme, the ministry of IT has launched several programmes in this sector.

Computer labs and IT teachers are being provided in 1,100 high schools and higher secondary schools in a joint project with the provinces. The basic IT training of the federal government employees is in progress and IT is being introduced in the civil and military training academies and industry specific skill-based training is being imparted in selected areas.

The IT ministry has also completed the office automation project at the PM Secretariat along with seven other divisions of the federal government so far. Under the office automation project, each division has been provided computers and local area networking to automate their routine office functions like word processing, information exchange and electronic record keeping.

The project also offers secure internal email and electronic schedule management. These office automation projects include focused training of the users and as the users get proficient in the use of computers more advanced application are introduced.

In line with this implementation strategy applications are being provided to the PM Secretariat. Similar applications would be provided to another seven divisions where Local Area Networks have been established.

The meeting was told that the IT ministry had already tendered out the work for automating the core ministerial functions at the Ministry of IT. These generic applications are mostly the same for all the federal ministries and after the implementation at the IT ministry, these would be replicated throughout the federal government.

Among other 12, one would be implemented in Punjab where relevant record about firearms licenses would be computerised. Upon completion of this project, firearms licenses will be issued on computer generated cards, similar to the national identity cards issued by the Nadra. The project is being implemented in the Sialkot district and Lahore.

The meeting was told that after the completion of this pilot project, the entire process of issuing computerised firearms licences as well as the linking of the district office with the database at the head office would be established. This would serve as the basic building block which can then be extended to all other districts of the province.

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